Archive for February, 2013

A Lifetime is Not Enough for Great Music

February 28, 2013

Many who read this blog are also followers of classical music.

Yesterday heaven gained one of God’s most gifted pianists.

Ironically, he was a Texan from Fort Worth.

Can anything good come out of Nazareth, or Texas for that matter, that would cause people to believe?

Yes.

And when Van Cliburn won the first International Tchaikovsky Competition in Russia in 1958, finishing his award winning performance with a soul stirring crescendo, he was rewarded with an eight minute standing ovation and first prize.

Great music is one of those things that inspires us all.

I can still hear my father, any time he’d hear Pavarotti on TV, or the likes of Cliburn on piano, singing out the the words “God bless him” over and over again.

If you’ve never heard the name Van Cliburn before today, and you read this blog, it’s partly my fault.

His music deserves more credit than my meager mention gives him today.

Please don’t be like me….remember to thank those you admire and appreciate before they’ve passed on.

Be more like the reporter in this video.

The Biblical Soccer Mom

February 27, 2013

In today’s Gospel we see one of the first zealous moms of the New Testament pushing her kids to over-achieve.

Like sideline parents of our day, it isn’t always the best performing children who get themselves shoved to the front line…it often has more to do with the aggressive behavior of the folks.

Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee approached Jesus with her sons
and did him homage, wishing to ask him for something.
He said to her, “What do you wish?”
She answered him,
“Command that these two sons of mine sit,
one at your right and the other at your left, in your kingdom.”
Jesus said in reply,
“You do not know what you are asking.
Can you drink the chalice that I am going to drink?”

God is far more interested in us leading our children through humble example.

The mother of the sons of Zebedee starts out alright, giving Christ homage–but–we quickly learn her patronizing is political, not spiritual.

This passage of scripture should remind us how any lack of transparency in God’s presence is futile–and–more importantly, a poor example to those we’ve had entrusted to us.

Forgive me Lord…I’m guiltiest of all.

No wonder my kids are so embarrassed around me.

Thank You Dr. Farrell; the Uncommon Man

February 26, 2013

This morning I read the obituary of one of my father’s closest friends…Dr. Joe Farrell.

Joe was a dentist, but since there were so many Lebanese of the same profession in Pittsfield, “kinsfolk” to boot, none of us Masserys were ever Joe’s patient.

That hardly mattered.

The spiritual bond that united my dad and Joe, through their love of the Church, their devotion to Vocations, and most of all their respect for Marriage and Family, is what tied them together like brothers.

It’s rare that a young man would feel this close to a friend of his father’s, but, I have to say, this passing is bitter-sweet.

Sad, because I know Dr. Farrell endured much suffering through poor health over the past years.

Sweet, because I can see my dad now, embracing Joe in glory and asking him why he played so many practical jokes on him.

My favorite memories of Joe are the many hand written notes he’d mailed to me and my children, reminding us of what a great man my father, (their grandfather) was…his best friend.

Friendship like that is not common these days.

Thanks for being such an uncommon friend Joe.

You’ll be greatly missed.

Seth MacFarlane; the Wrong Family Guy

February 25, 2013

I’m not sure this was a surprise to many, but when Oscar host Seth MacFarlane started reading fake headlines about how he’d be the worst host ever, I had to agree.

Sadly, as the night went on, I got more uncomfortable with every attempted joke.

Timing is everything, and a good comedian who doesn’t know his audience is not a good comedian at all, just an obnoxious oaf.

I wonder what would happen if God was as unforgiving as his audience was with every line that fell completely flat?

For those who enjoy his program Family Guy, that’s fine, and also exactly where he needs to stay.

Would you hire Rachel Ray to cover the announcement of the new Pope?

Is Dr. Oz qualified to be a Super Bowl commentator?

Having a successful T.V. program should no longer be a prerequisite for hosting the Oscars, or any other show for that matter.

To be honest, either one, Rachel Ray or Dr. Oz, would have done far better than MacFarlane.

When we take ourselves too seriously, as if all that we have to say is far greater than what anyone else thinks, that’s when our obnoxious side is front and center.

Lord, thank you for reminding me what a jerk one can be when tastelessness is our theme.

Thanks also for having a Celtics game on T.V. I could switch to…the Oscars were too far gone for this family guy.

Persian Rug Beaters

February 24, 2013

The Iranian culture has a few things to still be proud of.

Their rugs.

That’s about where it ends.

For an American named Saeed Abedeni, a Christian Pastor, all he has to look forward to now are beatings in one of the world’s worst prisons.

His crime?

Being in Iran and believing in Christ.

For those of you who think a country cannot be evil, think again.

There’s plenty of outrage here in the U.S. over Abedeni’s recent sentencing of eight years for his so-called crime, but very little concern being shown from Iranian citizens themselves.

If you know any, especially as an American, you owe it to your Christian faith and to your fellow American, to complain that their country is abusing human rights, particularly as it relates to freedom of religion.

I’d love to hear their reaction.

My reaction is to start deporting Iranian students from the Universities here in the U.S.–all of them–until Abedeni is released.

That might shake up some dust.

God help Pastor Abedeni.

http://aclj.org/iran/aclj-iran-convicts-sentences-american-pastor-saeed-to-prison-because-of-christian-faith#.USduA7jRen0.mailto

Back From the Future

February 23, 2013

For security reasons, I never announce I’ve left town through my blog or Facebook.

For those who like to frequently update their social networking sites, think about referring to places away from home as if it were in the past tense.

God won’t mind…because some day it will be.

You can obviously trust your friends, but not necessarily your friends’ friends, who don’t care about your life, only about what they might lift from your apartment or garage while you’re away.

Speaking of tenses, now that I’m home, I can tell you I was in Abu Dhabi.

Even though it was business related, my quest continued for all things relevant to my spiritual life.

Being in a place that’s nine hours ahead of home has it’s benefits.

Instead of writing my blog, soon after rolling out of bed, it could wait until the close of my work day in the middle east, and still be on time for your morning coffee.

What I was not prone to do was skip morning prayer.

There’s something about being with God first thing in the morning that makes the rest of the day seem safer.

For those not sure how important prayer is in the middle east, check out this photo of the Grand Mosque of Abu Dhabi.

It’s built by the Government.

Good thing for faithful Muslims that there’s no such thing as the ACLU.

The Lord said He’d return when the Gospel had been preached to every nation.

We have a way to go to secure every soul.

IMG_0790[1]

The Drug Snuggler

February 22, 2013

For many years I’ve been a business traveler.

It wasn’t until recently that I discovered my inability to sleep on flights was partly my own fault.

Thinking that over-the counter-medicine was for someone else was my mistake.

About a year ago I discovered the power of Dramamine.

Never before had I slept more than in five-minute stretches.

I take the regular version, not the Non-Drowsy.

It makes me groggy enough to close my eyes and then snuggle up with my crescent-shaped neck pillow.

When I finally wake up…touch down!

Too often in life we try to independently resolve all our problems, often making them worse.

God wants us to rely on Him to find rest in times of peace and even more so in times of trouble.

It’s never a form of weakness to seek His help.

The Salesman’s Prayer

February 21, 2013

Several years ago I received a great phone call from a gentleman who would eventually become one of my best customers.

After saying hello, the next thing he said was;

I’ll bet you thought I’d never call.

I replied;

Actually I did, because I believe in my product.

I still often hear people say similar cute remarks, when they’re about to place an order, like;

Do you want to make a sale today?

If I know the person well enough I’ll say;

Every morning I get down on my knees and pray–Please God help me make a sale today–of course I do, you’re the answer to my prayer.

The story of Esther, in today’s Old Testament reading, is about one of the best sales persons who ever lived.

What was her technique?

Charm…what else?

Here’s her prayer from Esther 12:

She lay prostrate upon the ground… from morning until evening, and said: put in my mouth persuasive words in the presence of the lion…turn our mourning into gladness and our sorrows into wholeness.

If we begin each day literally begging God to put the right words in our mouths, so we can provide for our families, as Esther did who saved all of Judea, we cannot fail.

It doesn’t hurt to have a great product either, like Esther, dressed for success, selling world-class Godly charm.

Million Dollar Babies

February 20, 2013

I don’t know the name of the woman who made this bizarre statement.

I’m glad.

God knows I’m guilty of saying things just as vulgar.

Here’s the bottom line.

At a Pro-Life rally in California, a Pro-Choice counter-protester is claimed to have said; “I’m a millionaire because I had an abortion.”

http://cal-catholic.com/wordpress/2013/02/18/im-a-millionaire-because-i-had-an-abortion/

Let’s just say she really did say it.

Then imagine God met this woman at the Gates of Heaven, and handed her all the money she had earned, because of her choice not to nurture that child.

Then imagine again the child was standing there next to God, fully grown, bearing the wounds of his death, not much different from the scars Jesus showed doubting Thomas.

Would not that mother give all that money back to God, just to be with that child for eternity, to nurture his wounds?

Pardon my French, but where the Hell is she going to spend it otherwise?

I told you I’m not much better.

Unforgivable Attire

February 19, 2013

You may be old enough to remember the song “Short Shorts.”

It goes like this.

There was a time when even the most harmless attire was considered risqué.

I’m sure guys and gals from that era thought “short” shorts were pretty cool…on the girls anyway.

What I’ll never get used to is the European idea of guys wearing them.

If you happen to be traveling internationally, you’ll see them, in their underwear, heading to the pool, making American guys blush…actually I was biting my tongue.

No matter how unforgivable that look might be, today’s Gospel reminds us that not forgiving someone, taught by our Lord Himself in Matthew 6:17, could be the difference between us being forgiven by God–or not.

If you forgive men their transgressions,
your heavenly Father will forgive you.
But if you do not forgive men,
neither will your Father forgive your transgressions.

I know you saw me laughing at that guy Lord.

I forgive him for what he was wearing.

Please forgive me for the million or so times I made you bite your tongue.